Ivan Raiklin is living proof of achieving the American dream. His parents, brother, and two sisters escaped the Soviet nightmare in 1974. Since their arrival, the Raiklin family has savored their freedom, taken personal responsibility of citizenship and maximized on the opportunities America has afforded them. Ivan, the youngest of the four children, was born on February 29 in New York.
Loyalty and gratitude to his country are etched in Ivan's heart. He graduated from Northern Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Ivan's sole goal in his career has been serving the country that welcomed his family with open arms, saving them from political and religious discrimination in the Soviet Union. Ivan has served as a Green Beret, Military Diplomat, Foreign Affairs Specialist, and Intelligence Officer at critical times during the last 20 years, deploying multiple times to four continents. As a Green Beret, he advised the Salvadoran Army's Special Forces in their efforts to counter MS13. In 2016, he trained the Jordanian Special Operations Command who are countering ISIS. Most recently, Ivan deployed to the hurricane-stricken areas of Texas, to help victims of Hurricane Harvey conduct Search and Rescue operations and deliver humanitarian aid.
Ivan also captured the entrepreneurial spirit. He has been advising and investing in a range of startups including Arka, a packaging design company that serves more than 2,000 companies across 1,000 cities, and CoolChip Technologies, which is revolutionizing cooling technology for consumer electronics.
Ivan holds a B.A. in Russian, Spanish and Russia and East European Studies, a J.D. and attended the M.S. in Strategic Intelligence program at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is fluent in English, Russian, Spanish and has a working knowledge of Arabic and French.
Ivan and his wife, Elena, met in Northern Iowa and have been married for two-decades. They have two surviving children. Timothy is now seven; his twin brother, Theodore, passed away at birth and is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. Gregory, age five, their "rainbow baby" was born two years later. They've made their home in Virginia since 2004.
Twenty-two Veterans die by suicide every day. While this number is in dispute, I took the highest published number out there to ensure you could see that I am committed to our veteran's health. We owe a national debt to each of them. The first step is awareness. Run with Raiklin was launched to do just that.
"In late August, I launched my U.S. Senate Exploratory Committee--Run With Raiklin. Running 22 miles every day through every corner of Virginia for a total of 1,776 miles, 1 mile for every one of my Brothers and Sisters we lost to suicide. As I considered running for U.S. Senate, I was physically running to support the community I come from.
(.....and, no one ever said I didn't have to run to run!)
Jokes aside--what I truly didn't know was, the overwhelming support I'd receive from my family, friends, and Virginians. Running 22 miles a day through every corner of the Commonwealth gave me the opportunity to meet Virginians mile by mile, listening and learning about the issues that affect them the most.
Run With Raiklin is the 1,776-mile journey of a lifetime!"